‘Houseful’ boards cause for Kannada film fraternity cheer | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Stakeholders in the Kannada film industry were flush with hope and optimism after recent releases drew packed houses over the lengthy weekend.
The industry was one of the worst hit by pandemic-induced lockdowns and restrictions. Only a couple of weeks ago, the government allowed theatres to operate with 100% seating capacity, and that appears to be paying off.
Both big-starrer films ‘Salaga’, released on Thursday, and ‘Kotigobba-3’, which hit screens a day later amid Dasara festivities, have been box office hits. Until Monday, almost all shows attracted housefuls and theatre owners expect the buoyant trend to continue since another blockbuster, the Shivarajkumar-starrer ‘Bajrangi-2’ is set for release on October 29.
Rajnikant’s Tamil film ‘Annathe’ and ‘Suryavanshi’, the Hindi film featuring Akshay Kumar, are lined up for pan-India release on November 4 – Diwali Day. These are expected to keep the buoyant streak going.
“This is the first time in 18 months since Covid-19 hit that theatres are putting up ‘houseful’ boards,” said KV Chandrashekhar, president, Karnataka Film Exhibitors Association, and owner of Veeresh theatre in Bengaluru. “Hopefully, we will be able to sustain the momentum and the film industry will emerge completely from the trough it had hit.”
Chandrashekhar said 575 of the 630 single-screen theatres in the state were operational with the release of the Dhuniya Vijay-starrer ‘Salaga’ and ‘Kotigobba-3’, in which Kichcha Sudeep plays the lead role. He said the two movies were equally shared between theatres and both attracted large crowds.
HG Surendranath, general manager of satellitebased screening agency UFO Moviez, said all 220 multiplex screens had resumed operations, and 70% of them screened the two movies.
Mohith Bhargava, regional director-south, Inox Leisure Ltd, said: “The response to ‘Salaga’ and ‘Kotigobba-3’ has been very good, and ‘Ninna Sanihake’, another Kannada film, is also doing well. It has given us much-needed traction. We are looking forward to more enthusiasm from audiences over the next fortnight when some big Kannada, Tamil and Hindi films are expected to be released.”
The film industry is estimated to have incurred losses of about Rs 4,000 crore since theatres were among the first to shut when Covid-19 hit in March last year. Theatres opened in March this year when they were permitted to operate at 50% occupancy, but it was brief. The second wave brought shutters down again.
Even now, it took more than a fortnight after the government allowed 100% occupancy for some semblance of normalcy to return.
The ‘Salaga’ team convened a ‘success press meet’ on Tuesday to share their happiness about the response to the film. “We received several reports about houseful shows from all over the state. It feels like the Kannada industry is back with a bang,” said Dhuniya Vijay, who also directed the film.
Meanwhile, home minister Araga Jnanendra held an interaction with representatives of Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. “We brought the menace of piracy to the minister’s notice,” said chamber president DR Jairaj. “Pirated copies of ‘Salaga’ and ‘Kotigobba-3’ are already being sold. The minister promised a crackdown.”

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Sagar Biswas

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